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The Seclusion of Mount Chong

Wang Duo (1592-1652) was born in Mengjin, now Mengjin County, Henan. He became a jinshi (imperial scholar) in 1622 when the Ming was the ruling regime of China.

The Seclusion of Mount Chong 

 
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Wang Duo


Qing Dynasty


Ink on Satin


Hanging Scroll


Width×Length: 167cm×51cm


Wang Duo (1592-1652) was born in Mengjin, now Mengjin County, Henan. He became a jinshi (imperial scholar) in 1622 when the Ming was the ruling regime of China. In the Qing Dynasty, Wang ranked up to the Minister of Rites. Active at the shift of regimens as a renowned calligrapher, he was also adept at poetry, anicent-style prose, landscape and floral painting. One of the features of Wang's imposing landscape painting is the rarity of texturing and rubbing, which sets the charm of his paintings apart. Bearing Wang's inscription and an intaglio seal, the Seclusion of Mount Chong was painted in 1650, when he was 58 years old. At the top of the scroll, a ridge winds down from the towering peak of Mount Chong. The shades of myriad hilltops obscure a temple, a cascade and a bridge in the middle, and set an ethereal tone for the rocks and trees at the bottom. In his elaborate orchestration of elements, Wang wielded the tip of his brush at his will and simply dotted the rocks at the lower water gap without texturing and rubbing. Even though he structured the scroll in the archaistic way many landscape painters did since the Ming and Qing dynasties, Wang didn't stick to the classic technique of pima cun (hemp-fiber texturing). Instead, he used dotting to deliver a sense of unconstraint in his own way. 


 
 

​Streams Amidst Mountains

Dong Bangda (1699-1769) was originated in Fuyang, Zhejiang. As a court painter in the Qing Dynasty, Dong was adept at landscape painting.

​Streams Amidst Mountains 

 
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Dong Bangda


Handscroll


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Width×Length: 26.7cm×245cm


Dong Bangda (1699-1769) was originated in Fuyang, Zhejiang. As a court painter in the Qing Dynasty, Dong was adept at landscape painting. He became a Jinshi (imperial scholar) in 1733 and was admitted to the Hanlin Academy as an editor in 1737. Ranking up to the Minister of Rites, Dong once took part in the compilation of imperial inventory catalogs. Enthusiastic about calligraphy and painting, Dong fell heir to the ancient techniques of seal script and clerical script. Inspired by artists of the Yuan Dynasty, Dong exceled at the use of painting techniques such as dry brush, outlining, texturing, and rubbing in landscape painting. His painting style, ethereal and exquisite, dwells somewhere between the Loudong School and Yushan School, equaling him with Dong Yuan and Dong Qichang, both reputed landscape painters in ancient China, as the "three Dongs".


Streams Amidst Mountains is a long handscroll of inkpainting imitating that of Jing Hao, a Chinese landscape painter and theorist of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Northern China. The work employs Jing's texturing, and rubbing techniques to compress the landscape into layers of jutting rock-pillars between streams. In his inscription, Dong paid tribute to Jing. The handscroll bears imperial and collectors' seals, such as the Seal of Emperor Qianlong's Treasure, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed at the Hall of Mental Cultivation, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed by Emperor Qianlong, the Seal of Emperor Jiaqing's Treasure, the Seal of Emperor Xuantong's Treasure, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed at the Sanxi Hall (literally three rarities), the Seal of Blessings to Offspring, the Seal of Shiqu Baoji, the Seal of Baoji Sanbian (literally a second continuation of the inventory-catalog), The Seal of Shiqu Dingjian , and the Seal of Baoji Chongbian (a continuation of the inventory-catalog).


 
 

A Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines

Wang Hui (1632-1717), who styled himself as "Shigu" and "Qinghui Laoren", was a student of Wang Shimin and Wang Jian, both reputed painters of the Qing Dynasty.

A Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines 

 
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Wang Hui


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Hanging Scroll


Ink and Color on Paper


Width×Length: 177.5cm×98.4cm


Wang Hui (1632-1717), who styled himself as "Shigu" and "Qinghui Laoren", was a student of Wang Shimin and Wang Jian, both reputed painters of the Qing Dynasty. Adept at painting landscapes and imitating paintings of the Song and Yuan dynasties, Wang incorporated the features of different schools of painting and shaped his own style. Wang Hui was hailed as one of the Four Wangs, four Chinese landscape painters in the 17th century, all called Wang (surname). As the founder of Yushan School, Wang was awarded Emperor Kangxi's inscription for his excellent job in painting Emperor Kangxi's Southern Inspection Tour scroll in 1662, one of Wang's early masterpieces. A Thousand Peaks and Myriad Ravines was composed the way most landscape paintings were since the Yuan Dynasty. A courtyard house in the middle of the painting is set off by a riverbank and trees in the foreground. A small bridge spans the streak from behind the trees. A mountain ridge stretches peak after peak into the distance. To show the ambience of an invigorating autumn, Wang painted the scenery in light-reddish purple, and portrayed the rocks and trees with forceful strokes. In his intricate arrangement of elements, Wang used the technique of pima cun (hemp-fiber texturing) to paint the mountain rocks, stained the distant mountain with ink, and elaborately outlined the trees, all of which demonstrated his mastery of landscape painting techniques. At the upper right corner, Wang composed a verse of poem to celebrate the autumn. The piece bears various seals, ranging from Wang's personal seal and imperial and collectors' seals. His works were highly valued by the imperial court, literati and bureaucrats of the Qing Dynasty. 


 
 

Portrait of the Confucius' Disciples

The preserved handscroll portrays the standing posture of 59 disciples of Confucius in total. The title label on the protective and decorative backing reads "Portrait of Confucius' Disciples by Yan Liben".

Portrait of the Confucius' Disciples 

 
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Handscroll


Yan Liben


Ink and color on silk


Song Dynasty(960 - 1279 A.D.)


Width×Length: 32.3cm×870cm


The preserved handscroll portrays the standing posture of 59 disciples of Confucius in total. The title label on the protective and decorative backing reads "Portrait of Confucius' Disciples by Yan Liben". The handscroll uses the technique of line drawing to vividly feature the disciples, each with their own mien that conveys a sense of seriousness or amiableness. Their vesture and accessories, depicted in different colors, radiates the qualities of elegance and self-possession. The frontispiece bears an inscription of Emperor Qianlong, "the Legacy of the Apricot Altar (where Confucius gave his lectures)". The artwork in the middle carries a complete set of eight seals of the emperor: the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed at the Sanxi Hall (literally three rarities), the Seal of Blessings to Offspring, the Seal of Emperor Qianlong's Treasure, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed by Emperor Qianlong, the Seal of Shiqu Baoji (an inventory-catalog of works of painting and calligraphy in the collection of Emperor Qianlong), the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed in Shiqu, the Seal of Baoji Chongbian (a continuation of the inventory-catalog), and the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed at the Qianqing Palace (literally heavenly purity), along with his other seals, such as the Seal of Emperor Qianlong at Seventy, the Seal of Emperor Qianlong at the Wufu Wudai Hall (literally five happiness and five generations), the Seal of Ba Zheng Mao Nian Zhi Bao (literally the eighth way of governing the country is to care about commoners), and the Seal of Grand Emperor's Treasure. In addition, it bears the seals of connoisseurs such as Song Quan and his son. The artwork has colophons by Jiang Fu, son of Jiang Tingxi, an official painter and grand secretary to the imperial court in the Qing dynasty, together with Wang Jie, Cao Wenzhi, Peng Yuanrui and Dong Gao, all political figures in at that time. According to research on the colophons and inscription, it is Confucius's disciples depicted in the painting. The artwork comes with a story of many twists and turns. It was first awarded by Emperor Shunzhi (the third emperor of the Qing dynasty) to Song Quan, and after nearly 100 years came into the possession of Jiang Fu. Jiang then presented it to the Qianlong emperor, which was recorded in the Shiqu Baoji Xubian, a continuation of the inventory-catalog. The Qing administration then lost it to Japan during the World War II. After exchanges of possession, the handscroll was eventually returned to China, where it belongs.


 
 

Reading near a Stream with Bamboos

Yu Zhiding (1647-1716) was a court painter in Qing Dynasty. He specialized in painting figures.

Reading near a Stream with Bamboos 

 
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Yu Zhiding


Hanging Scroll


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Width×Length: 56cm×30.2cm


Yu Zhiding (1647-1716), who styled himself as "Shangji" and "Shenzhai", originated in Jiangdu (now Yangzhou, Jiangsu). As a court painter of the Qing Dynasty known for his sophistication in landscape and figure painting, Yu did most of the celebrity portraits of his time. He was inspired by a slew of artists of the Song and Yuan dynasties such as Ma Hezhi, whose most appreciated technique was the orchid leaf stroke – one that uses the middle of the paintbrush to provide a round, full and rich presentation that is soft on the edges and strong in the center. Yu's painting style was known to be elaborate, elegant and graceful.


In the scroll, a man was reading in the shade of a brookside grove while leaning against a tea table. His young attendant walked towards him, holding orchid and lingzhi in a vase. Across the pristine clear brook a blanket of misty fog obscured the top of a faraway pavilion. Yu did not only deliver the composure of both men, but also captured the wrinkled details of their robes. The jagged rocks perfectly resonated with the thin outline of bamboo, which rendered the painting neat and exquisite. In his inscription, Yu titled the painting Reading in the Shade of a Brookside Bamboo Grove. Bearing both an intaglio seal and a seal in relief, the handscroll is considered a masterpiece of Yu's.


 
 

​Autumn Hunt

Fathered by Li Tingyi, a minister of the Qing Dynasty administration, Li Zongwan was known as a bibliophile and a court painter.

​Autumn Hunt 

 
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Li Zongwan


Handscroll


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Width×Length: 21.1cm×194cm


Li Zongwan (1705-1759), who styled himself as "Zida", "Yiyuan" and "Zhuxi", originated in Jinghai, Zhili (now Jinghai County, Tianjin City). Fathered by Li Tingyi, a minister of the Qing Dynasty administration, Li Zongwan was known as a bibliophile and a court painter. He became a Jinshi (doctorate) in 1721, the sixtieth year of Emperor Kangxi's reign, and was admitted to the Hanlin Academy. In his finest moments, Li was appointed the assistant minister of Justice. Adept at landscape painting, and bird-and-flower painting, Li carried elegance and exquisiteness into his every stroke. His penmanship, vibrant and graceful, put him on par with Zhang Zhao (1691-1745), another prominent calligrapher of his time. And therefore was praise as "the Zhang in the South and the Li in the North". Li was also an enthusiast of poetry and book collection.


In the autumn hunt at Mulan Paddock in 1745, Emperor Qianlong ordered his entourage to poetize the grand event. With his fine technique of traditional Chinese realistic painting, Li reproduced the grandeur of the hunt down to the very last detail: an army of hunters on horseback, armed with bows and arrows, chased after panicked preys. Li postscripted the painting with a neatly lettered poem. The painting bears a series of seals for imperial appreciation and collection, such as the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed by Emperor Qianlong, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed at the Sanxi Hall (literally three rarities), the Seal of Blessings to Offspring, the Seal of Emperor Jiaqing's Treasure, the Seal of Treasure Imperially Viewed by Emperor Jiaqing, the Seal of Emperor Xuantong's Treasure, the Seal of Shiqu Baoji (an inventory-catalog of works of painting and calligraphy in the collection of Emperor Qianlong), and the Seal of Baoji Sanbian (literally a second continuation of the inventory-catalog).


 
 

Portrait of Zhang Detian

The portrait was co-painted by Jiao Bingzhen and Jiang Tingxi in 1726. Jiao was a native of Jining, Shandong who became a court painter and imperial astronomer in 1662, the first year of Emperor Kangxi's reign.

Portrait of Zhang Detian 

 
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Jiao Bingzhen


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Hanging Scroll


Ink and Color on Silk


Width×Length: 80.8cm×73cm


The portrait was co-painted by Jiao Bingzhen and Jiang Tingxi in 1726. Jiao was a native of Jining, Shandong who became a court painter and imperial astronomer in 1662, the first year of Emperor Kangxi's reign. Skilled in painting landscapes, people, florals and buildings, Jiao incorporated the western graphical perspective in his highly-colored fine brushwork paintings, creating a unique style. The two most characteristic features of perspective are that objects appear smaller as their distance from the observer increases; and chiaroscuro. Jiang Tingxi (1669-1732), born in Changshu, Jiangsu, was a painter and grand secretary to the imperial court. He was particularly adept at using mogu technique (making forms by ink and color washes rather than by outlines) in his bird-and-flower paintings. 


In the Portrait of Zhang Detian, Jiao painted the boat, pavilion and Zhang. Jiao captured the composure of the man with fine-tuned strokes and reproduced the exquisite intricacy of the pavilion. Jiang, on the other hand, supplemented the portrait with brilliant details of lotus pond and willows. The painting depicted Zhang, a calligrapher, leaning against the table in a boat with a feather fan in his hand. On the table lay an open book, beside which a fine porcelain vase held lotus blooms, hinting at Zhang's noble aspiration. In the pondside pavilion were heaps of books. The sprightly-colored painting took an ingenious approach to portray the scene with a view from above. At the upper right corner, Jiao dated the painting, and at the upper left corner Jiang mentioned his supplementary role. This innovative piece of artwork bears three seals.


 
 

At Mount Li Escaping the Heat

Yuan Jiang (1671-?) was known in the Qing Dynasty for his sophistication in jiehua (painting executed with measuring devices such as ruled lines), landscape painting and brushwork of palatial gardens.

At Mount Li Escaping the Heat 

 
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Yuan Jiang


Qing Dynasty (1616-1911)


Hanging Scroll


Ink and Color on Silk


Width×Length: 134cm×224cm


Yuan Jiang (1671-?), who styled himself as "Wentao", originated in Yangzhou, Jiangsu. Yuan was known in the Qing Dynasty for his sophistication in jiehua (painting executed with measuring devices such as ruled lines), landscape painting and brushwork of palatial gardens. Following the footsteps of Qiu Ying, a Chinese painter who specialized in fine brushwork painting, Yuan inherited the blue-green landscape painting tradition, where he portrayed elaborately-structured sumptuous palaces and pavilions with brilliant colors.


Completed in 1702, the hanging scroll draw inspiration from the stories where Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty spent his holiday at the summer resort – Mountain Li, which is now in Lintong, Shaanxi. From a panoramic view, Yuan reproduced the intricate spectacle of history. Luxuriantly emerald trees were scattered among the rocks of the rugged mountain. A lake lay at the foot of the mountain and joined the misty sky at a far end. A flight of stepstone led up to the secluded yet lofty Jiucheng Palace, the main building in the scroll. With a grand landscape in the background, Yuan carefully arranged the pavilions and palaces to bring out the grandeur of the summer holiday retreat. The brilliantly colored palace attendants, a heavily jagged mountain rocks and dot-stained emerald trees also helped bring this fine brushwork masterpiece to life. In his inscription, Yuan paid homage to the artists of the Southern Song Dynasty. The hanging scroll bears two seals carved in intaglio and relief.  


 
 

Poetic Plum Blossoms

Ink and color on paper

Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279)

Length 44ocm, width 34cm

Beijing Cultural Relics Company

Poetic Plum Blossoms 

 
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Anonymous


Ink and color on paper


Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279)


Length 44ocm, width 34cm


Beijing Cultural Relics Company



 
 

Pavilion on Seamount

Chen Xiang (birth and death unknown) was famous for painting landscapes by his left hand.

Pavilion on Seamount 

 
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Hanging scroll


by Chen Xiang


Ming Dynasty


Ink and color on silk


Length 206cm, width 104.8cm


Chen Xiang (birth and death unknown), who was alternatively called Zuo Bi Shan Ren, was a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He was famous for painting landscapes by his left hand. In this painting, there is tall pavilion by the sea painted meticulously and in detail. Foot-ruler was used to paint the pavilion building's scanning lines -- neat , accurate,delicate, elegant and in rich color. The stones and mountains were painted in the style of the "Zhe school". An inscription on the right side with "He Ting Ren", and "Zuo Bi Shan Ren" sealed in intagliated characters.




 
 

Spring Scenery in Southern China

Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) was the representative of "Wumen School", and one of the "Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty".

Spring Scenery in Southern China 

 
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Hand scroll


by Wen Zhengming


Ming Dynasty


Ink and color on paper


Length 26.2cm, width 124cm


Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), original name Bi, who styled himself Zheng Ming, and was alternatively called Hengshan Jushi, was a native of Changzhou (now Suzhou, Jiangsu Province). He was the representative of "Wumen School", and one of the "Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty". He specialized in figures, landscapes, flowers and birds, especially got outstanding achievements in landscape paintings, which mostly described the theme of Southern landscapes. His representative work is Zhen Shang Zhai (hand scroll). The spring mountains in the painting were painted in mineral green and umber, with inscriptions of the sayings sung by Zhou Fu, and one poem "Southern Spring" by Ni Yunlin, and seals in intagliated characters "Zheng"and "Ming" .




 
 

Native Land of Reeds

Dong Qichang (1555-1636) was the representative of the "Huating school", and the leader of the late Ming Dynasty paintings.

Native Land of Reeds 

 
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Hand scroll


by Dong Qichang, etc.


Ming Dynasty


Ink and color on paper


Length 24cm, width 278.7cm


Dong Qichang (1555-1636), who styled himself Xuanzai, with alternative names of Sibai, Siweng, and Xiangguang Jushi, was a native of Huating (now Songjiang, Shanghai). He was the representative of the "Huating school", and the leader of the late Ming Dynasty paintings. He specialized in landscape paintings, which were in subtle elegance and vividness. He promoted paintings by scholars and officials, and had a significant impact on the paintings of Qing Dynasty. Both of the emperors Kang Xi and Qian Long liked his calligraphies and paintings, so his paining style was strikingly rife in the whole contry during that period. This painting was a joint work . The first part depicts the landscape with self-titled "Native Land of Reeds in Autumn" by Dong Qichang. Later, another inscription was added by Chen Jiru, saying that it was better to be titled as "Native Land of Perches". Since then, Zhuang Yan, Zhu Nianxiu, Li Shaoji, Chen Lian, Shi Jiaohuan, Lan Ying, Wu Zhen continued to add something to the painting, and there is an inscription of the year "Gui Chou (41st year of Wan Li, 1613)" signed by Lan Ying, and "Ren Zi (40th year of Wan Li, 1612)" signed by Wu Zhen.



 
 

Feet Immersing in Paulownia Shade

Shen Zhou (1427-1509),was a native of Changzhou (now Suzhou, Jiangsu Province), and the founder of the "Wumen school"

Feet Immersing in Paulownia Shade 

 
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Hanging scroll


by Shen Zhou


Ming Dynasty


Ink and color on silk


Length 199cm ,width 97.5cm


Shen Zhou (1427-1509), who styled himself Qinan, with the alternative name Shitian, and self-claimed as Bai Shiweng (Bai Shi old man), was a native of Changzhou (now Suzhou, Jiangsu Province), and the founder of the "Wumen school", and also one of the "Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty" (Shen Zhou, Wen Zhengming, Tang Yin, and Qiu Ying). His painting works had two kinds: brush and refined brush. His style was powerful, refreshing, and more pedantic and he was the representative of the Ming Dynasty's paintings by scholars and officials. This painting shows the quiet valley and deep lake, with peace and tranquility.. The mountains and rocks in this painting are dominated by outlines with applying colors and the colors are mineral blue and mineral green --bright but not tacky. The branches were drawn in bold brushwhich shows the vigorous artistic conception. The leaves were drawn in outlines, and the color was dyed in vegetation green--the calm color. On the top right corner of the painting, there is a self-titled poem.




 
 

Fisherman

Wu Wei was a court painter of Ming Dynasty, and the founder of "Jiangxia School".

Fisherman 

 
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Hanging scroll


By Wu Wei


Ink and color on silk


Ming Dynasty


Length 177cm, width 97.6cm


Wu Wei (1459-1508), who styled himself Ciweng, with the alternative name Xiaoxian, was a native of Jiangxia (now Wuchang, Hubei Province). He was a court painter of Ming Dynasty, and the founder of "Jiangxia School". He specialized in painting figures, landscapes, especially in outline drawing without color or shading. He started painting in court in Cheng Hua period (1465-1487). In Hong Zhi period (1488-1505), he gained the emperor's royal seal, and was called "Master of Paining". His personal style was mainly evolved from the Southern Song academic tradition, and his figure painings were divided into bold free style, meticulous style and traditional ink and brush style. His early style was delicate and exquisite , after his middle age, his style was characterized by greater freedom and more expressive brushwork. The representative of his works is Wind and Snow on the Ba River Bridge. In this painting, the figures' faces, hands and feet were outlined with light ink and light colors, and the method of the composition was taken from the style of Southern Song Dynasty's "side corner" method, but his own style was characterized by fresh brushwork instead of Southern Song's calm and vigorous style. The upper left corner of the painting was signed "by Xiaoxian", and a seal of "Jiangxia Wu Wei" carved in relief can be found below it.